Whether you just went out yesterday or it has been 6 months, there are a few things you should do each time before going out and when you come back! These things can help you have a safe day on the water as well as help prevent maintenance issues in the future.
Bilge inspection for standing water, bilge pump operation (auto/manual), steering, and transmission are a few that we never skip before leaving the dock.
Knowing you are starting your day with an empty bilge and confirming the pump is operational is essential for your safety. Steering and transmission need to be checked before untying to make sure you are fully functional before floating away and needing to get back to the dock without one/all. Some extras at startup: windlass secure, chat plotter/route set, VHF radio check, weather, tide, fuel, water. It is understood that you need to know if you have all the proper safety equipment on board and if it is up to date. This does not need to be checked every trip if you know that nothing was removed.
The shutdown procedure should include flushing the motor with freshwater right away.
You want to ensure that thermostats are open and all chambers of the motor are flushed properly. Removing all wet towels, coolers, and misc. items, while the motors are flushing, are a fantastic way to multitask. By the time you have the boat unloaded, the motors should be completely flushed allowing you to go into a washdown. Just a rinse is not a good enough way to get all of the salt off. A reminder: that the metals are “Stainless”, not “Stainfree." We need to clean them to prevent rust/corrosion. Proper rinse, wash (with soap and brush), and rinse again is important. If you do not like spots, then you need to dry. At that point, you can hook up your battery charger/shore power and set the breakers accordingly.
We want to start/end our day safely but also create steps to ensure these are done efficiently! These steps will help to prevent the feelings of burden/extra work. Once you get a good process, it's like a pit crew and can be completed in a swift amount of time.
For more information on preventing maintenance issues for your boat, contact us today at (217) 962-1048.